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The Big Giant List Of Marketing Clichés

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marketing clichés

Would it be too cheeky, too cliché, if I said that marketing clichés are a dime a dozen?

Probably.

However, marketing clichés are SO overused that — if you take away brand assets like logo, colors, fonts, etc. — you’d be hard pressed to know what company is giving you that same tired line of, “we take [x] to the next level!”

Ugh.

Here are x of the most-used marketing clichés, and what to say instead. Updated for 2024!

Cliché Is Getting Cliché

In 2024, marketing clichés have evolved, but the need to avoid them remains paramount.

Phrases like “AI is the future of marketing” and “Data is the new oil” have become overly used, losing their impact.

Additionally, “Personalization at scale” promises more than it can realistically deliver. To stand out, marketers are encouraged to move beyond these clichés, offering clear, actionable strategies that focus on the genuine benefits and innovations they bring to the table, ensuring messages are both meaningful and effective.

Here’s the definition of cliché according to Wiki:

“A cliché or cliche (/ˈkliːʃeɪ/ or /klɪˈʃeɪ/) is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, even to the point of being trite or irritating, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel.”

Finally, for 2024, we’ve expanded our list of giant marketing clichés. See the below!

The Giant List Of Marketing Clichés 

Here’s our list of marketing clichés, alphabetically listed, for your reading pleasure. 🙂

A: AI is the future of marketing.

I get it. We’re obsessed with AI. And yes, it will change how marketing — and most other areas of business — are done.

However, to talk about AI without resorting to clichés, you could say, “Artificial intelligence shapes the next era of marketing strategies, offering unparalleled insights and engagement opportunities.”

This emphasizes the transformative role of AI without leaning on an overused marketing cliché.

A: Always be testing.

What to say instead: We’re guilty of this one, too. How about “daily/weekly/monthly optimization” instead?

B: Bespoke.

As in, we offer bespoke solutions.

What to say instead: Why not say custom? And then go ahead and spell that out (because let’s be honest, EVERYONE is “custom”).

C: Content is king.

What to say instead: Connection is King!

Look, even if your content is top-notch, it’s not going to convert your digital audience from lurkers, to fans, to conversion without connection. Like I say in Conversations That Connect, the true ROI for social media is actually ROC: Return on Conversation.

D: Dead.

As in, [SEO/Facebook/Social media] is dead.

adweek-social-media-is-dead-marketing-cliche

[Source: Adweek]

What to say instead: Stop being a clickbait monster and instead give your reader specifics and a reason to click.

Example: “Why SEO isn’t as important for content marketers in 2024.”

E: Efficient or Effective 

What to say instead: While these may describe you or your product/services, they don’t get specific on the end results. Get real (with case studies, testimonials or other outcomes and results).

The best businesses sell feelings. And how do you invoke feelings about your products/services?

For starters, you write about the benefit of your product or service. As in, how people feel when they use your [thing].

F: Final.

As in final days/weeks to save/book your ticket/etc.

What to say instead: Saying “final” doesn’t create urgency; it’s too much of a marketing cliché.

For example, try phrases like:

  • “Don’t miss out.”
  • “Limited availability.”
  • “Grab yours before it’s gone.”

These phrases suggest that the opportunity is fleeting, encouraging immediate action without sounding too forceful or overused.

G: Go the extra mile OR go above and beyond.

What to say instead: Anything that doesn’t sound like every other company (or pep talk).

To convey the idea of going above and beyond without using those exact words, consider phrases like “delivering exceptional outcomes,” “setting new standards of excellence,” or “pushing the boundaries of innovation.”

These alternatives emphasize a commitment to excellence and innovation in a fresh and engaging way.

H: Huge savings/discount.

What to say instead: Give the actual savings percentage or dollar amount. What’s huge to me may not be huge to you. Be specific.

I: Inspirational quotes.

I hate to break this one to many of you, but … psychologists have found that people who use New-Age inspirational statements – known as psuedo-profound bulls**t – tend to have lower cognitive scores.

Furthermore , the people who create and share these memes are also more prone to believing in the paranormal, hold religious beliefs and are taken in by conspiracy theories.

inspirational-quote

[Source: SomeEcards.com]

What to say instead: Anything that’s original and not something that’s bee said or shared a billion times over (ahem, something not cliché!).

J: Just.

As in, “just 9.99!”

What to say instead: This word is an authority killer! Find a word that’s not a “filler” word and makes your sentence stronger, not weaker.

K: Keep Calm and [insert anything here].

What to say instead: Anything but this! Also, see “inspirational quotes” above. Gah.

L: Last chance.

What to say instead: Anything other than this (and doesn’t conjure up that business that has “last chance” sells every. single. month).

To express urgency without saying “last chance,” you might say “Time’s running out” or “Act now before it’s too late.”

These phrases subtly convey that the opportunity is almost gone, encouraging immediate action without directly repeating the common phrase.

M: Move the needle.

What to say instead: Something more impactful … like, “let’s make a measurable impact.”

Additionally, to convey the idea of making a significant impact without using the marketing cliché “move the needle,” you might say “drive meaningful progress” or “achieve significant advancements.”

These alternatives emphasize impactful actions or results in a way that feels fresh and dynamic.

N: Next level.

What to say instead: Instead say, “We increase customer service response times by 30%, and here’s how…” Again, get specific.

O: Outside the box.

What to say instead: Something that actually describes how you’re different. Plus, I like Seth Godin’s idea of thinking on the edges of the box.

P: Paradigm shift.

What to say instead: Too jargon-y.

Go simple and use one of these instead:

  • Critical change
  • Major adjustment, or
  • Fundamental difference

P: Personalization at scale.

This promises more than it can realistically deliver.

Instead, try:

  • Tailoring experiences for every individual, effortlessly
  • Customizing connections en masse.

These alternatives highlight the ability to customize at a large scale without using the common jargon.

Q: Quality.

What to say instead: Any other word that denotes quality but isn’t uttered in every 1 out of 3 branding messages.

R: Results-oriented or results-driven.

What to say instead: Anything else. Because who wants a company/service that is anything less??

Consider saying “focused on impactful outcomes” or “dedicated to achieving meaningful success.” These alternatives emphasize a strong commitment to producing significant and valuable results.

S: Solutions-driven.

What to say instead: Like results-oriented, this is too overplayed to continue to use. Solutions-driven marketers, brands, products or services look to solve a problem.

For example, try “committed to innovative problem-solving” or “focused on crafting strategic responses.” These phrases emphasize a proactive and creative approach to addressing challenges.

T: Trained professional.

What to say instead: How about just professional? (Because isn’t it redundant to be a trained professional?).

Additionally, you might say “expertly skilled” or “masterfully qualified.” These terms highlight proficiency and high level of training without using the common descriptor.

U: Unique.

What to say instead: Anything that’s not as cliché as unique!

Here’s a list of synonyms for “unique”:

  • Distinctive
  • Singular
  • Unparalleled
  • Incomparable
  • Irreplaceable
  • Exclusive
  • One-of-a-kind
  • Unprecedented
  • Novel
  • Original

Note: Be careful how you describe yourself with these words. Calling yourself “prolific” sounds conceited and egotistical, but if you write “one-of-a-kind” books, that may sound less cocky.

V: Very.

What to say instead: There are literally hundreds of ways to avoid saying very. Go for it!

very-is-lazy

[Quote Source: Dead Poets Society]

 

W: World class. 

What to say instead. How about the truth? Unless you’ve been graced with this seriously big-time title by someone seriously big time, don’t use it.

Moreover, try replacing “world-class” with “of unparalleled excellence” or “foremost in quality.” These phrases convey a high level of distinction and superiority, emphasizing exceptional standards.

Y: Your [insert industry term or jargon here] needs.

As in, “we offer all-encompassing packages depending on your social media needs.”

What to say instead: Don’t live in a sea of vagueness as the above statement does. It sounds like this company has no idea what your needs (as the customer) are.

Get specific and use client FAQs or case studies where you’ve solved specific problems to get real about “your [client’s] needs.”

Note: X and Z are missing, but if you have marketing clichés that fit these categories don’t hesitate to school me.

The Biggest (And Possibly Cliché) Advice For Marketing Clichés

If you made it all the way through that long list of marketing clichés, you should have noticed that the best way to ensure you’re not doing something that’s overdone is to be specific.

You simply can’t differentiate your brand, products or services in today’s world by repeating what everyone else is already saying.

Have any marketing clichés to add to this big, giant list? Let me know in the comments section below!

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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
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Category: Digital Marketing, Marketing, Online Marketing
Tags: advertising, content, marketing, marketing clichés, writing
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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Avatar
    Robin Strohmaier
    May 26, 2016 12:45 PM

    Hi Brooke,
    Great list of cliches – and what to say instead! I have one that might make the list: cutting edge.

    Reply
  • Love it. I would have chosen “epic” or “exclusive” for the E term, as they are two phrases I constantly see used, misused and abused across my feed.

    Hope you have one helluva wonderful holiday weekend!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Mallie! Oh man … I’m SO guilty of using epic. So so guilty. 😀 But you’re right, it’s probably time to put it away!
      Hope you have a fabulous weekend as well, friend!

      Reply

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